The Hot Rock - ★★★★☆
Last time I said, "Now this was a great caper. In fact, it's a bunch of great capers, since if everything went right it wouldn't be much of a movie. The museum sequence is genuinely suspenseful and clever and terrific."
I mostly agree with me. The museum is still great, and the other sections have great bits, but maybe they're more surprise than suspense, since they didn't hit me as hard this time around.
Snowpiercer - ★★★½☆
It's one of my favorite things in a movie lately when I don't know what's going on, exactly. The plot is easy to describe, but the details and questions raised along the way make it interesting.
I worried this would stomp all over a train-related idea I started writing a while back, but then I found out this is based on a comic from 1982 and there are no new ideas. Finding out that comic book was French does make this Korean movie make a little more sense to me though.
Can't wait to see the American version where everyone lives!
The Amazing Spider-Man 2 - ★½☆☆☆
This is the opposite of Captain America 2. I have nothing but complaints, with just a few saving graces barely sneaking in. If it were trimmed down to just the scenes with the Giamatti, it could have been a good animated short to include on the DVD of a better movie.
I would have never guessed there'd be a time when I was not excited about the prospect of a Spider-Man movie.
X-Men: Days of Future Past - ★★★★☆
I wasn't excited for this one; I don't like most of the X-Men movies, and the director of the old ones coming back seemed like a bad omen. But now, I'm pretty sure this one is my favorite of the bunch!
I think this movie's strength is the choice to not be penned in to exactly where the previous films left off. For like, a decade, I've told anyone who will listen how Spider-Man should be like the 007 franchise - change creative teams now and then, but just keep moving forward. Make references when appropriate or when feeling indulgent, but try to tell a new story each go 'round. You know, like a comic book?
I've read some absolutely idiotic articles this week by people who assume the X-Men have never had an adventure we didn't see on the screen, and they must be the reason why every time someone wants to tell us a new superhero story they feel obliged to serve up a new take on the origin first.
What this movie gets right is figuring that you either know who these characters are, or will be able to figure it out by watching the movie, and then telling a story about them. (What it gets wrong? Yet another comic book movie where we fly around in DNA in the intro. Yet another comic book movie with a plot point hinging on lost powers, even if it was a good take on it this time.)